GT Stewart’s client, 19 year old DB, stood trial this week at the Central Criminal Court accused of involvement in a ‘joint enterprise’ stabbing and possession of a knife.
The prosecution case was that DB had targeted the victim, as the parties had been known to each other previously, when DB had been accused of (and acquitted of) burgling the victim’s home. It was alleged that DB had waited for a significant period of time, together with a second male, in a stairwell leading to the victim’s flat. That upon the victim’s return to the stairwell, DB and the second male both brandished knives towards the victim and in an ensuing struggle the second male stabbed the victim in the leg, causing severe injury with significant blood loss, requiring three operations and a skin graft as part of a lengthy recovery.
DB had been named by the victim as being present with a knife and struggling with the victim at the moment he was stabbed by the second male. DB was arrested and interviewed by the police, where he stated the victim had mistakenly identified him as he was nowhere near the scene of the crime at the material time. He was charged and remanded in custody.
DB changed his account prior to trial, stating that he had been present and was waiting in the stairwell with the second male for a period of time as they were both there together to purchase cannabis from a drug dealer based in the block of flats and they remained there to smoke. DB said the victim entered the stairwell and immediately ordered DB and the second male to leave his estate. DB stated that he acceded to this request and began his descent of the stairwell; but that the second male refused and there was a ‘stand-off’ between the second male and the victim. DB described how he then saw the second male pull out a 10-inch kitchen knife from his waist area. DB stated how at this point he ran out of the stairwell, hearing screams from above as he did. DB stated that he had lied to the police in interview because he was scared of blaming the stabbing on the second male. DB denied being in possession of a knife nor playing any part in the stabbing.
At trial and following lengthy legal argument, the prosecution unsuccessfully attempted to place DB’s previous convictions (including robbery and possession of a knife) before the jury. The previous convictions (including possession of knives and wounding) of the man who almost certainly was the second male (based upon forensic/visual identification evidence and DB’s evidence) were however placed before the jury.
At the close of the prosecution case the defence successfully argued that there was no case to answer with respect to the count alleging DB was in possession of an offensive weapon (the knife) in a public place. The judge directed the jury to enter a Not Guilty verdict.
DB gave evidence denying he had taken part in the stabbing. After only one and a half hours of deliberation the jury unanimously acquitted DB of wounding with intent (s.18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861). DB was released from HMP Belmarsh where he had been a remand prisoner since September 2015.
DB was represented at trial by Nicholas Lane, a Higher Court Advocate at GT Stewart, instructed by Will Russell, a Solicitor at the Camberwell Green Office of GT Stewart and Jessica Roome, a Paralegal at the same office.